Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Lists of 10 and Making JustALittle Progress on Goals

This is another one of those posts where ideas I've read in different places come together and make me think that maybe I'm not *always* wasting time online. Hah, who am I kidding, I waste prodigious amounts of time online.

I finally finished Scott Berkun's Mindfire essays, after the library sent me 2 overdue email notices and a paper one. I'm sure I owe them enough in late fees to have bought my own copy of the book. 

My favorite essay was the one on creativity. I can't find it online, though I suspect it's somewhere on his blog. The salient points were:
  • Creativity isn't some magical power that only a lucky few are blessed with
  • Creativity comes from combining known ideas to make new ones
  • You need to "practice" being creative to get better at it
One of his suggestions was to keep an "idea journal" handy so you can jot down interesting thoughts and ideas. It's a pretty simple concept and reminded me of something I read ages ago about doing a "daily brainstorming practice" in order to keep those creativity brain cells humming.  I wish I remember where I read that, but the only thing I can remember was thinking that the author was a little...odd.

Yesterday a friend posted a link to this fantastic blog post about accomplishing goals by making just 15 minutes a day for them, instead of procrastinating until that mythical time where we'll have a HUGE chunk of time to work. 

Guilty as charged here. Before kids, I worked best under pressure, spending whole days cranking through projects fueled by Starbucks chai and lots of PB&J sandwiches. Well, as you can guess, with 2 kids under 5, I don't get the luxury of whole days to myself to work on personal projects.

My final inspiration was Laura Vanderkam's excellent article listing things to do when you have 5 minutes instead of checking email.

Do something creative with that pocket of time!

I combined all of these concepts with my love of making lists, and made a list of 10 things I could do to further my goals for the year, all of which can be done in little pockets of time. Some of them are one-time tasks that I can cross off, and others are ideas that I can keep using.

10 Quick Ways to Progress
  1. Plan our next meal and make the shopping list 
  2. Take a very short walk (anything more than 5 minutes is a win)
  3. Write a blog post (hello!)
  4. Sort one folder of digital photos
  5. Clean up a small space (counter, shelf, drawer)
  6. Read a few pages of a book for my PMP certification credit on my phone
  7. Figure out how I'll get exercise tomorrow (or today if there's time!)
  8. Come up with 5 Paleo breakfast options
  9. Update my Etsy shop incoming order notes
  10. Create a "template" for meals to make planning easier (eg 2 vegetables, a protein, etc)
Now my challenge is to figure out WHERE to keep this list so I'll see it. I have a OneNote notebook online which I can access on my laptop and phone, but I haven't gotten into the habit of using it. I need this list to be "in my face" so I can avoid the siren song of Facebook and the false promises of a clear Inbox.

But I know it's working, because just reading this list gets me fired up to DO SOMETHING instead of zoning out online. Thoughts?


  1. Best quote ever, "•You need to "practice" being creative to get better at it" So true.

    I have a note book I carry everywhere with me that has my notes, goals, grocery lists, thoughts, etc. I have OneNote too, but honestly I still need that physical thing to carry with me.

    1. I need to figure out that "carry everywhere" notebook. I started using Bullet Journal, which I love, but I don't keep that notebook in the diaper bag which is my "purse" right now. I think I need something smaller than 5.5 x 8.5, but that's too small (in my mind) for the Bullet Journal stuff. I really wish I could just go all-electronic.

  2. Send me your address - I'll make a little notebook for you :) I used to give these as little gifts to friends and EVERYONE uses them in their handbags to jot down little lists like this. I chatted to a colleague the other day and she had hers from two years ago still in her bag (mind you, it's not a big notebook but still... impressive).

    ANYWAY, definitely yes, 15 minutes a day is what I "preach" too. There's a reason I'm so successful with my goals and being intentional about my tiny pockets of time is one of my "secrets". I was going MENTAL during those first few months with newborn twins and realised that if I was going to get ANYTHING done ever again in my life (I know it sounds dramatic but I was used to accomplishing SO much more before), I'd have to use those tiny pockets :)

  3. This is so refreshing to read, and definitely inspiring me to get back up to date with keeping my goals and intentions written down!

  4. I love that blog post that you referred to! I can very much relate to the idea that we procrastinate not just on things that aren't important, but on things that are too important too us. I feel that way a lot. What if I screw things up? What if I'm no good after all? "If I do this, everything might change, and change is hard!" I need to try the 15-minute thing too. Heck, even 5 or 10 minutes, just to get some consistency.

  5. Love all the points you make...and will definitely read that article about what to do with 5 minutes!

  6. This is the best, most helpful post I've read in a long, long time. Thanks for all the information and inspiration!

  7. Oh wow, this is good stuff! I think the hubby has been overwhelmed about trying to find a new gig, and little chunks might be a useful strategy. I might even use a pocket to get my blog out of the second-to-last position on your sidebar. Thanks!

    1. Ooh, love that my blog sidebar is motivation for you to write so that I can read it and ogle your photos :D

  8. Thanks for mentioning my article! I check my email a lot when I have 5 minutes. But I like the idea of doing something different!


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